October 5th, 2008
04:19 PM ET
13 years ago

RNC to seek audit of all contributions to Obama campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/05/art.boberlin1005.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Obama's July speech in Berlin drew tens of thousands. Now the RNC wants an audit to determine whether the federal ban on contributions from foreign nationals may have been violated."]
(CNN) – The fund-raising prowess of the Obama campaign may be put under a microscope, if the Republican National Committee has its way.

The RNC announced that it plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Committee Monday that seeks an audit of the more than $450 million donated so far to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The complaint will address two issues highlighted in a recent Newsweek report about the Obama campaign’s fund-raising. First, the RNC will ask the federal agency responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws to audit and inquire into whether the Obama campaign accepted any money from foreign nationals, a contribution source prohibited under federal law.

“We believe that, based on the law, the Obama campaign has accepted contributions from foreign nationals and has knowingly done so through at least its failure to reasonably investigate where all this money is coming from,” RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross told reporters Sunday.

Listen: RNC announces plans to ask for an audit of Obama camp's fund-raising

The FEC defines foreign nationals as foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations, foreign partnerships, individuals who are foreign citizens, and immigrants to the U.S. who do not have a “green card,” showing they are permanent residents or are lawfully admitted to the country.

Second, the RNC plans to ask for an audit of possible excessive contributions to the Democratic nominee. “The Obama campaign has a track record of accepting these,” Cairncross told reporters, referring to recent FEC requests directed at the Obama campaign to explain what appear to be multiple small donations from single donors listed in the campaign’s finance reports which violate the contribution limits when aggregated.

The Obama campaign was quick to turn the McCain camp's critical eye back onto McCain's own fund-raising. “Because of campaign finance issues, John McCain has had to return over $1.2 million to donors who potentially violated the law with their contributions," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement Sunday. "We look forward to a thorough investigation into whether John McCain’s campaign has returned all of the money it raised from foreign nationals," Burton added.

The Obama campaign also responded to the RNC's claims that it may have received some contributions prohibited by federal law. "Without accepting a dime from the Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs that have funded John McCain's campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans. We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise. We constantly review our donors for any issues and while no organization is completely protected from internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” Burton said.

As the primary season ended and presidential race turned to the general election phase, Sen. Barack Obama announced that he had decided not to take public financing – a declaration that appeared to go back on his earlier commitment to work out an arrangement about public financing with the Republican nominee.

Watch: I'm opting out, Obama says

Sen. McCain, however, decided to take public financing during the general election race and is now limited to spending the $84 million given to his campaign by the federal government. Because Obama declined public funds for the general election, his spending is not limited by federal law.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • FEC • John McCain • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (701 Responses)
  1. MF

    We have heard about taking off the gloves and fighting to the END. Is this what it is all about?
    What plan does Mccain have for the country. That's the job RNC should take him to. He has said many times: I will win this war, I know how to win wars. How many wars have Mccain won?
    Today he said I know how to fix things, what has Mcain fixed?
    Of all the years of experience that Mccain touts, what pet project is closest to Mccain's heart. DEREGULATION. Taking government out of our back and pockets. He is not a champion on Education (Kennedy's turf), Healthcare (Hillary's pet), Loose nuclear warheads and international surveilance (Obama's work).
    Experience does not equal to how old nor how long you have doing somwthing wrong.

    October 5, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Donald, Canton,NC

    RNC spare us your pious concerns.

    You have enough problems with your own candidate's initial fund-raising through the primaries and afterwards.

    Get back to the real issues and quite trying to side-track them during the final days of the campaign. This isn't 2000 or 2004!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Scoti

    The RNC doesn't have anything better to do than have the Feds confirm that the money didn't come from foreigners. I guess they are having a hard time dealing with the $84.1 million that McCain has to work with. Does anyone wonder – Is the McCain campaign and the RNC almost out of money? If this is the case, it's going to be very difficult for them to function, much less, keep up with Obama. If they don't know that it was Obama's plan to bankrupt McCain, they should have a clue now.

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. bob

    This from McCain's party – the man who violated his own campaign finance laws in the primary.

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. OHIOmomforO

    The Republicans can never win the election on the issues. They resort to dirty tactics designed to label their opponents as un-American. They deserve the butt-kicking that is coming down the pipeline for them. Bye-bye, GOP!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Barbara L. Giles

    It just behooves me on how desperate McCain is. He will stop at nothing. McCain is losing and that is that. Palin's comment on yesterday had to be retracted because it was unsubstantiated. Did not McCain have some pastor problems and Palin believes in witchcraft, voodoo, or root, and what is this Keating 5 all about? Not that I care because I am interested in the issues at hand. When I buy groceries, I want to be able to choose a steak rather than neckbones; I want to be able to fill up my car with gas and ride for pleasure, not just to work. I long for these days again.

    Obama/Obiden 08

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Kiah

    Oh what happens in this country when black people start to have success. This country is beyond disgusting. When you're losing do whatever it takes if you can't win to smear the your opponent!

    October 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Steve, Ithaca, NY

    Don't expect this to go through. Obama's already tried to get the DoJ to prosecute those who run ads counter to his message. All criticism of Obama must be silenced.

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. labman57

    The problem with the McCain campaign is that they have no positive, productive message of their own, no specific policies for improving the economy that differ from those of GWB, no solutions for improving America's standing among foreign nations, no significant platform whatsoever. He is a one-trick pony pushing his vague concept of being a "reformer" and a "maverick".

    As a result, he has relied on negative attack ads and speeches from the get-go. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and McCain is a desperate man whose blind ambitions have clouded any sense of judgement, fairplay, and code of ethics. (Palin, on the other hand, never had a code of ethics–only a holier-than-thou sense of morality.)

    McCain and Palin have regressed from "gutter politics" to "sewer politics".

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Mike O

    There are many scores of people listed by the Obama campaign itselfs that have donated over $10,000 directly to his campaign. Thousands of donations from obviously fake names; over $23,000 from two guys in a Hamas refugee camp. No: no reason for an audit.

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Tom

    Unbelievable, I was know their fundraiser activities were suspect to say the least.

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Dee Dee Lynn

    Well, I see the McCain campaign has been true to its word. He's down in the polls in nearly all battleground states, and as promised, he has responded by going negative (more negative I should say) and doing everything he can to keep people from focusing on real issues. I guess that is the only way he could somehow pull ahead. I personally hope Americans are smarter than that.

    Regarding issues, why doesn't John McCain explain why, after he made a promise to root out any pork in legislation going through congress, he decided to vote for the bailout bill, which was loaded with pork in order to lure Republicans into voting for it?

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Bob

    Mccain campaign running out of time and ideas!!

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. josephine

    This campaign has definitely gone down the toilet. Negativity is king and the problems that people are going through because of the inadequacy of this government has just been set aside. Now this is plainly and sadly one of throwing dirt, accusations and whatever bull at each other.

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. Ohh! Please

    It's about time!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Johnathan S.

    Look's like Bush is throwing another Buddy under the bus.
    Is Sarah next?
    Stay tuned!

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Osama B. Laden

    What you mean I no can give money to Obama?

    October 5, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Laura

    Maybe that is why Obama opted out. He knew he would have people from Kenya and Indonesia (family) making contributions to his campaign.

    This would be quite the October surprise!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Christina

    Wow! Those dogs will stop at nothing.

    OBAMA '08!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Bob

    Wow. That disgusting old corpse McDrain is getting really really desperate.

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. masterpjsr California

    I'm a Health Care worker that at this point is at the highest of my salary range and was just told during my evaluation that at this time a Salary Increase isn't in the plan, my tenure is about 21 years of service.

    As a Martial Arts Instructor in the inner city of California, limited funds so what I'm able to recieve for teaching discipline to trouble kids, my money goes back into the programs when I'm in a major debt of being a business man trying to have my own operations.

    I send funds out of state to my kids on top of family support through the courts, I donated to the Obama Campaign. So now you take this testimony of how I'm being Patriotic helping my community when I'm having a rough time on my end, so you tell RNC to stick it... You're not doing anything but seeing that people like me that have suffered so much in our communities trying to survive, that it is now time for a new change. And that change isn't McCain and Pallin....


    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Peter Ransome

    Just another example of mcshame trying desperatly to undermine Obama,s integrity etc, the man has no shame or honour (which by the way is supposedly hes strong point) . He is running scared and cant deal with the important issues like the economy so he is trying these dirty smear tactics (swiftboat) , I hope the american public sees past this crap he is trying to pull, GO OBAMA

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. Holly

    Let both campaigns be audited...that is only fair. It will be very interesting to hear the results too!

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Nwando from Britain

    Anything to distract voters from the problems and issues facing the country.........................................what i look forward to is the backfiring of these allegations made by the RNC and the McCain campaign...............and just out of curiousity, do I smell some foul jealousy in the air....................give me a break, would ya?

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. PW Va

    That's right, Senator Obama...hit them back HARD AND FAST....the top of the ticket has a lot of nerve...there's lots of is around who remember Mc's role in the KEATING 5!!! Eh, JohnBoy???!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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